TAYLOR SWIFT has credited her new mentor ETHEL KENNEDY with inspiring her to live life to its fullest.
The pop star spent time with Kennedy, widow of assassinated politician Robert F. Kennedy, and her famous family over the summer (12), even dating her grandson, Connor Kennedy.
Swift was honoured by the clan at their Ripple of Hope Awards Dinner in New York on Monday evening (03Dec12), and when she took to the stage to make her acceptance speech, she was full of praise for Ethel.
The singer told a story of a summer sailing trip with the Kennedys in Massachusetts, revealing younger members of the family all jumped in the water, but she declined as she wasn't wearing a bathing suit, according to New York Post gossip column Page Six.
However, Ethel urged her to jump in and Swift insists she learned an important lesson that day.
She told the audience, "My great friend Ethel Kennedy is the person who... most inspires me to embrace the unpredictable side of life... She inspires me to find delight in every new experience... (Ethel said to me on the sailing trip) 'Dear, to be that thoughtful you run the risk of being boring. Get in the water.' So I jumped in, and I had an amazing time. Ever since... I have decided that to really live, you have to jump in, you have to take chances. You have to embrace the unpredictability of life instead of fearing it. Thank you, Ethel, for teaching me that."
Ethel, 84, was not able to attend the gala after she was struck down with a bout of bronchitis.
After the bash, Swift headed off to see her rumoured new boyfriend Harry Styles perform with One Direction at Madison Square Garden. The stars reportedly sang karaoke together at the show's afterparty and were later photographed leaving the bash holding hands.